On Thursday morning at the zoo, all the animals stretched and yawned their wide mouths and munched up their breakfast. Then, Marty the zebra found a curious orange egg and wondered what was inside. He thought, if that’s a real egg, I’ll have it for lunch. He wondered if the zookeeper knew what it was. A gazelle came along at that moment.
‘You’re wild,’ gasped all the animals.
‘Yes, I am, so just shut your big mouths.’
‘That’s a bit rude,’ said the tiger, who always said everything was rude.
‘Well, if you say one more word about me, I’m gonna eat all your food,’ said the gazelle.
‘First of all, we’d like to know your name,’ said the elephant.
‘My name is Antla and I don’t like being called Ant.’
‘Where are you from?’ asked the rhinoceros.
‘I’m from Kenya,’ she said.
‘So, why aren’t you talking to us in Kenyan language then?’ said the bear.
‘My mummy was English and taught me English, so I don’t like speaking Kenyan. By the way, if you even touch my baby with one paw you’ll know all about it!’
So, one dark and dusky night, they decided to look for her baby and find out if she was telling lies or not. That night, the zookeeper let the animals out of their cages because he trusted them and knew they would not escape.
The tiger said, ‘Quickly! Over here – there’s Antla curled up.’
‘But who’s that with the big horns cuddled up beside her?’ said Bella the cheetah. ‘That’s her baby, so it’s true.’
Then Antla woke up and yawned. ‘What are you doing here?’ she said.
‘Well, we wanted to see if it’s true that you have a baby,’ said Bella.
‘Leave now or I’m butting you with my big horns and he’ll hold you up with his.’
Quickly they fled, wondering what would happen next. They told the zookeeper everything and later something frightening happened. A giant dinosaur appeared.
‘I am the guard of Antla,’ he said, baring his fangs. ‘Antla is your friend now, I’m afraid.’
‘We will be friends with her,’ the animals all said together. ‘And she can live with us for as long as she likes.’
Marty the zebra remembered the orange egg and he gave it to Antla’s baby to play with.
Layla Gouhar is an Irish-Egyptian seven year-old third grader who loves animals, reading, drawing and making up stories whilst playing with her large collection of small animals. She also likes swimming, riding her bicycle, ice-skating, making cakes, shopping for books, and libraries. Layla has a cat called Stevie and wants to be a Vet when she grows up. “One Morning At The Zoo” was influenced by one of Layla’s favourite movies, Madagascar.